Darth Vader - Dark Lord of the Sith: Volume 1 - 4 Review
A Man Too Angry to Die.
Star Wars: Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith by Charles Soul is a canonical comic book series published by Marvel Comics on June 7, 2017 as a reboot of the 2015 Darth Vader series. Set directly after Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith, this series gives us a deeper dive into the character of Darth Vader and shows just how powerful he truly is. This series introduces new characters to the Star Wars universe and brings back old characters who we know and love.
Volume one, titled "Imperial Machine", takes place directly where the third movie ends with Anakin Skywalker being placed in the iconic armor that we first see in Star Wars: A New Hope. In this volume (issues 1-6), we get to see how the red lightsaber of the Sith is created. It shows us how angry Vader is as he kills everyone who gets in his way. Darth Lord Sidious tasks his new apprentice to get the iconic weapon by taking it from the remaining Jedi. Vader finds his target in Jedi Master Infil'a who avoided the devastating order 66.
After retrieving his new saber, Vader is introduced to the Jedi Death Squad "The Inqusitouris" led by the Grand Inquisitor, whose sole purpose is to hunt down any remaining Jedi in the outer rim. You will be familiar with the inquisitors if you have watched Star Wars Rebels or played Jedi Fallen Order. This volume gives us a deeper understanding on how these Jedi Hunters came to be and gives us a good picture of the Grand Inquisitor and Vader's relationship.
Volume 2 titled Legacy's End (Issues 7-12) continues to follow Vader and the Inquisitors as they hunt down the last remaining Jedi in the galaxy under the tutelage of Vader. In this volume, the inquisitors are tasked with hunting down Madame Jocasta Nu - who you may remember as the chief librarian of the Jedi Archives. Jocasta hasn't wasted any time since her escape from order 66. She has stored as much knowledge as she can in her exile in preparation for future generation of Jedi. We also get to see how the Empire views Vader (he is not well liked by most), and a few attempts on his life that does not end well for anyone. Trust me, Vader does not hold back the force chokes.
One really fascinating thing I found about this volume is that they brought back the use of holocrons - which is the Star Wars version of a USB drive. Holocrons can only be decrypted by use of the force. These holocrons contain knowledge of which we see used in other Star Wars media, like Rebels and Clone Wars. I love seeing little things - like these holocrons - weave their way into Star Wars lore.
The end of this volume shows us the harshness of Vader as he displays a tremendous show of power in front of the senior officers of the empire, a display that is shocking but rather expected from his character.
Volume 3 (issues 13-18): Burning Seas is probably my least favorite of the series, but it does take an interesting turn as we find Governer Wilhuff Tarkin above the watered planet of Mon Cala. As diplomacy with the empire fall through for the Mon Calamari, the empire storms the planet taking out a large chunk of the Calamari fleet led by Admiral Raddus and Commander "It's a Trap!" Ackbar. Meanwhile on the planet, there's a hidden faction of Jedi who are supporters of the Mon Calamari. These Jedi bring in the arrival of Vader and his Inquisitors who are determined to hunt them down.
I feel that this volume is definitely the weakest of the the series, but I did enjoy seeing a few recurring characters from the Star Wars universe pop in. I also liked seeing the beginnings on how the Mon Calamari fleet joined the rebels. Though it's the weakest of the series, I would still recommend it as it's a really fun read.
Volume 4 (issues 19 - 25): Fortress Vader is probably my favorite of the series. This volume follows Vader as he builds his base on the planet of Mustafar. Mustafar is the planet on which he was "reborn" with the help of a mysterious and dangerous ghost from Sith's past. This volume really shows how relentless Vader is as he kills his way to get what he wants. This volume also has a tad bit of humor, which was unexpected but very welcomed. This volume expands a bit more of the lore of the Sith which I found to be quite enjoyable.
I highly recommend this volume. I was very impressed with the writing of this volume as it gave us insight into what Vader is after. The humor made it even more enjoyable despite it being very subtle.
I would rank "Darth Vader - Dark Lord of the Sith" a 5 out of 6 Infinity Stones. Overall, the series was a great experience building off of who Darth Vader truly is as a character. In this series, we got to see Vader searching for his own destiny in the universe. I felt we had a great resolution to the story at the end of Volume 4. We also got a chance to see a little bit of of characters (both old and new) within the Star Wars universe. Volumes 1, 2, and 4 really stood out to me in terms of writing and character development. And while I feel as though Volume 3 fell a little more flat in comparison, it was still very interesting as it provided necessary backstory for the series. This series was enjoyable overall. I look forward to reading the other Charles Soul Star Wars comics. May the force be with you!
Kaleb Ardoin is a good friend of the Infinity Bros, and a nerd in his own right - a co-host of the Mountain Nerds Podcast! He has become an avid comic book reader as of late, and was gracious enough to accept a guest writer invitation from the Infinity Bros! Stay tuned for more content from this awesome guy!